How 2012 should be

Hawthorn Mineart offers a radical redesign of the election cycle which addresses both efficiency and voter fatigue:

The U.S. would have five days of political primaries, each a week apart, starting the last week of March. The first primary day would consist of the 10 states with the smallest voting population; the rest would increase upward until the fifth week when the largest voting states would hold their primaries in the final week of April. Then there would be a month of campaigning before nominating conventions in May.

The campaigning would be compressed into a shorter cycle that would make it easier for people to follow, and something would actually HAPPEN regularly, rather than endless shots of candidates’ tour buses and baby kissing. The primary wins would actually be representative of the various states and we wouldn’t be unduly influenced by states that don’t really affect the election cycle.

Apart from her rather cavalier dismissal of the smaller states, this makes sense to me. If nothing else, it would call a halt to ever-earlier primaries. (The New Hampshire primary in 1968 was on the second Tuesday of March, fercrissake.) Iowans will probably object, but I suspect that apart from the inevitable activist types, Hawkeyes might be faintly embarrassed by that whole caucus thing and the attention it gets.





8 comments

  1. McGehee »

    5 January 2008 · 9:40 pm

    If nothing else, it would call a halt to ever-earlier primaries.

    I confess I wouldn’t mind the primaries being so early, if we didn’t have to wait until November to get the whole danged thing over with.

    And at this rate we’ll be starting the 2024 presidential campaign in 2011.

  2. localmalcontent »

    5 January 2008 · 9:43 pm

    Super ideas. I prefer shorter primary seasons, and the 5-week schedule sounds right, but I like the whole kissing babies thingy. Can a single week of baby-only kissing be added?
    Babies are cool.

  3. Steph Mineart »

    6 January 2008 · 7:56 am

    I really don’t think that would be dismissing the small states; just giving them more appropriate level of influence. Right now the front-runners are determined by a small segment of society that has a specific demographic that isn’t in any way a cross-section of overall voters, so we’re not getting the candidates that most people really prefer in either party.

  4. McGehee »

    6 January 2008 · 8:41 am

    “Can a single week of baby-only kissing be added?
    Babies are cool.”

    Just as long as it doesn’t bring Michael Jackson into politics.

  5. CGHill »

    6 January 2008 · 9:05 am

    Note: I have added one line to comment #4 to clarify that it was referring back to #2, inasmuch as no one had seen #3 at the time. Apologies.

  6. fillyjonk »

    6 January 2008 · 1:29 pm

    Personally, I’d be in favor of some kind of amendment that prevents elected officials (and, to be fair, people who aren’t currently elected officials but want to become one) from using excessive amounts of time from their term to campaign for either the next term or the next step up the ladder. Yeah, yeah, so it limits free speech. But I’m mightily sick of the candidates already (and yet, ironically, I seem to know so little about them – it’s like they’re talking but no substance is coming out)

    I’d like to see a mega-super-Tuesday primary, where everyone, everywhere, votes. (And none of that goofy “early voting” like they do in Texas). Put it in March of the election year. Let the candidates start campaigning maybe Feb. 1.

    And express strong disapproval of any presidential candidate who starts campaigning before the actual year of the election.

    I just fear that we’re headed for a future where the candidates start campaigning for the NEXT presidential election before the inaugural ceremonies for the current president are over.

    In that case? I go monarchist.

  7. Charles Pergiel »

    6 January 2008 · 5:41 pm

    Yes, no, maybe so. Don’t pay so much attention to it. Find yourself a real hobby/job/life. Not everything is subject to instant analysis/logical deduction. Some things are more subtle than we realize. Absorb as much as you feel comfortable with. Let it percolate for awhile, check back in, see if your musings correlate with what you find. Repeat until you actually have to make a decision/vote.

  8. Dan B »

    6 January 2008 · 6:21 pm

    I just fear that we’re headed for a future where the candidates start campaigning for the NEXT presidential election before the inaugural ceremonies for the current president are over.

    Future? The talking heads have been speculating about the next election (4 years hence) before the completion of the current election since at least 1992, and probably earlier. I remember watching the results of the 1992 election still coming in and CNN was already speculating as to who would run in 1996.

    I love Mineart’s suggestion. I would suggest two weeks between rounds instead of one, and running from early April to mid June, but keep all the rest of it.

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